Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's School Time Again

It was 1985. Third grade. I was working on 2-digit multipliers. You know, 32 X 46. And I wasn't any good at it. For some reason, I just didn't get it. Could not understand the concept. At some point, I must have figured it out because I did successfully graduate from high school over 15 years ago. But the die was cast. From that point on, I believed I was bad at math.

Until I got a job working with money.

Not just counting it, but balancing tills, balancing thousands of dollars worth of utility payments and checks. And I was good at it. Very good. I could find a penny when no one else could. And I enjoyed it. And I was very surprised. I didn't know this about myself until after my first foray into college. Who knew?

But I still liked working with nursing home residents and have thought I would be good in a top spot as an administrator.

So I have been torn.

I was scheduled to go back to school this past January, but I was not able to do that. Brian's promotion-related work demands meant I wouldn't have anyone to watch the kids for the Wednesday night and Friday morning class I was scheduled to take. I missed starting another semester. I know I could take online courses, but I need someone to teach me. I want to go to class and take notes.

Here we are again, with another semester is drawing near. But I think I've come to a decision and it's not nursing home administration. It's a hard field in which your license can be on the line for the mishaps of your predecessor. Most facilities are owned by corporations whose number one concern is the bottom line. Low census? Goodbye! The average tenure of an administrator is 18 months. Not long enough to do anything. It's a revolving door industry and I doubt much is going to change in the next 10 years. My number one concern in dealing with nursing home residents are the residents and as an ombudsman, I don't have to worry about the bottom line or any of the administrative problems.

In 3 years, all of my children will be in school. I never thought that day would come. But in the meantime, I'll be plodding along working toward my accounting degree. I recently read an article about 2 San Jose State University classmates who were gunned down in a parking garage by the husband of one of the students, who then killed himself. How sad. Both of those students had recently graduated with degrees in accounting and were slated to start jobs at PricewaterhouseCoopers. I began to think how much I would love to have a job lined up at one of the Big Four.

Every industry, every field needs accountants and financial analysts. I don't want to hang a shingle. I want to work in in a huge accounting firm and just be a cog in a wheel for a while. There is something appealing about going to work in an office and just counting beans. UTA has a 5-year Professional Program in Accounting where I can earn my BS in Accounting and my Master's in Accounting or Taxation at the same time in 5 years, and be ready to sit for the CPA exam.

And later, I can go to school for another semester and get licensed as a nursing home administrator, if I still feel compelled. But I won't be locked into anything. I'll have the freedom to do whatever I want. And I can live with that.